The Treehorn Express

Opinion soaked in knowledge & experience.


Reliable Anecdotes of Reality

Treehorn is the hero of an easy-to-read, sad children’s book, “The Shrinking of Treehorn” by Florence Heidi Parry. She cleverly exposes adults’ couldn’t-care-less attitude towards the needs of children, even when the circumstances of mal-treatment of children are patently obvious. Treehorn found that parents, teachers and principals only pretend to care. They prefer to ignore a problem than to face it.. His principal ignored Treehorn’s problem but was still able to say, “You were right to come to me. That’s what I’m here for. To guide. Not to punish, but to guide. To guide all members of my team. To solve their problems.” And Treehorn kept shrinking.

When he started to turn green, his mother told him to comb his hair before the Smedleys arrived for bridge.


“One questioner won a loud round of applause when she asked Ms Gillard if Federal Parliament could implement some of the anti-bullying programs that had worked so well at her local school. “We develop a sense of community, and we look after one another.” the questioner said. “I wonder if there is any chance Parliament would adopt similar values? “ [Courier Mail P.18: 15/11/2012 following cabinet meeting at Redcliffe, Queensland.]

The question could have applied to the federal government’s treatment of schools, but Ms G. replied as if it applied to behaviour in the house and she said that the question might be put to Tony Abbott. In any case….


A Case Study

Following the cabinet meeting, cabinet members held some Q&A meetings with interested constituents. Mr. Garrett, Federal Minister for Education was questioned by Mr. Paul Thomson,Principal of Kimberley College, an independent school at Carbrook to the south-east of Brisbane.

Mr. Thomson reports on the exchange…

“Mr Garrett, my concern is that spending additional money on education is like putting mag wheels on a horse-drawn cart – the axle being NAPLAN and the wheels being the National Curriculum.

My first question.

“If NAPLAN is a sustainable strategy, why is it necessary for education departments to bully teachers and principals into silence?

My community is well informed and opposes extremist right wing Republicanism and I am proud of the fact that only 14 of y 139 students sat for NAPLAN tests in Year 9.

I would like to add a point or two about bullying. I have been investigated 28 times since 1992 when I first opposed right-wing extremism; 14 times in the public system and 14 times as a private school principal.

Will my statements today result in investigation number 29? I might add that the principal’s ACARA handbook forbids principals to ‘influence’ parents to withdraw children from the tests. I deeply resent this restriction on my freedom of speech.

The only question/statement Mr. Garrett responded to was my assertion about Right Wing Republicanism.

After the meeting, I went to Mr. Garrett’s adviser and asked : “Does Mr Garrett know and do you know that Ms Gillard was conned by Joel Klein and he gave her a set of fraudulent figures that inspired NAPLAN?”

The answer was “No”

So I walked over to Mr. Garrett and asked, “You said that you were not influenced by Right Wing Republicanism. Joel Klein is a friend of George Bush and Rupert Murdoch – does that make him a Right Wing Republican?”

No answer. I continued: By the way, do you know that Klein cheated with his figures?”

He answered “No”.

My reply was : “How come I knew and you didn’t? And my last point how many more votes would you get if you dropped NAPLAN?”

His response was : “None”.

I said: “Wrong. You’d get at least one ; mine.”

In summary:

  • I learned that the federal Labor candidate has enrolled his children at Kimberley College – he is a decent person.
  • Mr. Garrett laughed off publically that I would be punished for disobeying the ACARA injunction.
  • No one asked anything other than Dorothy Dixers.
  • They’re using the line that results are slipping therefore we should have NAPLAN.
  • Mr. Garrett used words such as community, snapshot, aspirations, communication, snapshot, socio-economic and snapshot. Weasel words.

5×25 5×25 5×25 5×25 5×25 5×25 5×25 5×25 5×25 5×25 5×25 5×25 5×25 5×25

Bruce Jones, former primary principal at Atherton, Coolum, Yungaburra etc. also reports on his audience with Mr. Paul Garrett on the same day. “I made two points : 1. Why New York and not Finland?; 2. Why encourage teachers and children to cheat?

He [Mr. Garrett] insisted that we weren’t following any other country but had developed our own version to best meet our needs. {See https://treehornexpress.wordpress.com. 10 Oct. “Australia – GERM Capital of the World”} He has visited New York and seen their model. I then listened to his prepared reply which emphasised that the data was needed to be able to resource schools properly with Gonski money. He refuted the fact that private schools require NAPLAN scores as prerequisites for enrolment. He said that he was concerned that some schools may be overzealous in preparing for the tests. He was very well prepared and more interested in explaining the benefits than hearing about the shortcomings.”

One must conclude that, contrary to what is stated, the actual purpose of such high-stakes testing schemes is political and not at all to inform the classroom teacher or help kids to learn more or better or to improve education. We ALREADY know what works for kids [e.g. multi-age groupings] but there isn’t the will to devote the necessary resources to make it happen. As the conservative and private sector continue to privatize, monetize and squeeze the life out of public education. I’m afraid I’m not feeling very optimistic about the future.


A New NAPLAN report has been released.

‘Student Summary by Class/Cohort – Future Students’ provides a cohort view of NAPLAN results for ‘future’ students for any NAPLAN years. It returns sortable data including Band, Scale Scores, and Test School – across Reading, Writing, Spelling, Group and Punctuation and Numeracy.

This report is specifically designed to list students in school who are marked with a “Future” enrolment status.”

(Extracted verbatim from a Q’ld Regional Director’s notice to schools) PLEASE EXPLAIN !!!! ???? Any official interest in music, art, health, history, geography, social interaction, learnacy?


PLEASE NOTE The Diane Ravitch website that once appeared below has been changed to her blogsite . Those of you who refer to it regularly, will know that her blogsite is an exciting, current and challenging site enjoyed by a few hundred-thousand Americans and others. Try it :



Educators [vis-a-vis testucators] around the GERM world hold hands on behalf of school children, trying to have their country’s children released from the deleterious effects of the vicious. fear-based, scatological testing programs. Testucators don’t care much about child welfare and are unable to trust….that’s why they test. Everyone, however, is encouraged to check these links as often as possible. The content of each changes from time to time.

{Don’t forget Diane Ravitch and I were once hard-nosed testucators. Come on, you fair-dinkum schoolies. Join us!}}




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